Saturday, July 23, 2011


Just a few hours after getting off the plane I was back in Rhode Island and happy to see how our garden had blossomed in the couple of weeks while I was gone. The bright colored flowers reminded me of southern France.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Concert à Sainte Chapelle

Perfect ending to a trip to Paris is a concert at Ste Chapelle.

At your leisure enjoy excellent photos of Sainte Chapelle. This site by David Scherbel Photograpy includes descriptions. Be aware that no video nor photo truly captures the beauty of the stained glass.

Go to the Louvre to not see Mona Lisa

If you go to the Louvre there's a good chance you will not see Mona Lisa.
Mona is there in the middle. So are the pickpockets.
However you can have a whole wall of Rafaele or Caravaggio to yourself.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Recipe for Moules Marinière from CIA

For everyone who has asked for the recipe. I make mussels a number of ways: curried, Belgian, Indonesian, Italian, French and just my own way. Because I love the mussels I had in France so much, I came back and made my own. Below is CIA's recipe. You can never go wrong with their recipes. Their version is French w/ white wine and shallots. I like to add cream. Add some cream at the end and do not boil. Just reheat. btw I do not bother decanting at the end. That's for the chefs in those 1st class restaurants.

Moules Marinière (Mussels Mariner-Style)
as prepared at the Culinary Institute of America
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer, 3 to 4 as a main course (if served with fries)


3 pounds mussels
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup very dry white wine
Pepper as needed


  1. Just before you are ready to cook the dish, wash the mussels under cold running water and remove the "beards," which are the fibrous connectors protruding from between the bivalves' shells.
  2. Heat large pot over medium-high heat. Be sure to use a pot (with a cover) that is large enough to easily hold all of the mussels; you'll want to give them at least one big stir during cooking. Melt the butter in the pot and wait for the foam to subside. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook until they're fragrant and translucent, 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  3. Add the parsley, give it one stir, turn the heat to high, and add the mussels to the pot. Stir the mussels once with a large wooden spoon, remove the pot from the flame, and add the wine. Return the pot to the flame, cover, and reduce the heat to medium, shaking the pot occasionally.
  4. After 4 minutes, check if any mussels have opened. If only a few have opened, cover the pot again and turn up the heat. If most of them are open, remove them to warmed bowls and cover the pot again to let the last few open. After 1 more minute, transfer the remaining open mussels to the bowls. (The unopened mussels are either dead or stubborn. If stubborn, the cook gets to eat them later after they've opened, but if they're dead, toss them.)
  5. Decant the cooking juices to remove the grit at the bottom of the pot. To make this step easier, set the pot so that it is tilted enough to make the liquid settle on one side. After it sits for a minute or two, the grit will settle to the bottom of the pot. Pour the flavorful broth carefully out of the pot, but stop as soon as you see the grit starting to make its way close to the edge. Season the sauce with pepper as needed, and pour it over the mussels. Serve immediately, making sure each person has a place to put his or her spent shells.

Moules à la Crème et Bière à la Pression

It doesn't always have to be cheese and wine. This afternoon I treated myself to some draft beer and mussels at la Geuze, a restaurant / pub on rue Soufflot near the Panthéon. I skipped the French fries. I could barely finish all these mussels.

S. Etienne de Mont

A nice little discovery not far from our hotel is the church of S. Etienne de Mont. Precious stained glass windows were removed and stored to protect them from the bombings of the First World War, They are now displayed protected by glass in the sacristy.

Vous avez un guide en anglais, svp?

Years ago it was mostly Germans, British and Americans who were the tourists in Paris. Today it seems that the whole world has descended upon Paris. A glimpse at the guidebooks for sale tell it all. It can be a chore to ferret out a guide in English. Who are these people? And what languages are they speaking? Click on the image of some books for sale on the Champs Elysées. What is Sav Pariz? Or Egésc Parizs? Or .....?
Paris is a very large city and the tourists are spread out so it is not as crowded as Rome. The wide boulevards and massive parks and plazas can accommodate them. Paris is beautiful, monumental, magnificent; Rome is eternal, but smaller so the same tourists are really squished and move through the tourist areas packed together like sardines.